Bendix boss points to light at end of truck tunnel

LAS VEGAS — Bendix CEO Joe McAleese addressed members for the first time since he was elected chairman of the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association in December, encouraging his fellow truck and component manufacturers to be resilient in the face of a weak economy in North America while preparing for a period of long-term growth worldwide.

At the group’s annual Heavy Duty Dialogue in Las Vegas, McAleese highlighted the emergence of the global economy, and ensuring safety through means such as new technology and anti-counterfeiting measures.

“As we look to the future of our industry, we must be even more steadfast in our efforts to develop and protect our brands and our intellectual property,” McAleese told the audience. “We must create even more attractive work environments that enable us to win the competition for talent.”

McAleese, who will serve as chairman during HDMA’s 25th Anniversary, spoke about the economic difficulties the industry has faced over the past year and stressed it will likely be the second half of 2008 before things turn around. But he was optimistic about the future, citing the economic indicators that forecast a prosperous period in the years to come.

Despite economic cycles such as the downturn expected to accompany the next round of engine emissions regulations in 2010, McAleese referred to recent studies conducted on behalf of the American Trucking Association that predict the overall truck population will increase by 44 percent over the next decade.

“To me, growth is about more than achieving the bottom line,” he said. “It’s about how we develop as an industry. It’s about increasing the value we deliver to our customers.”

McAleese has served on the HDMA board’s executive committee since 2004. He was elected to the MEMA board of directors in 2006 and currently serves on its executive and nominating committees. He is a long-time member of the Heavy Duty Business Forum, an HDMA executive discussion group, and also serves on its board of governors.

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